Liberals have stifled free speech and become the censors they should abhor

‘The law makes it clear that what matters is not the intention of the person who uses the phrase but whether anybody is offended by it’

Stephen Glover
The Daily Mail [UK]
8th February 2011

There is an old tradition of newspapers publishing fanciful or outrageous items on April Fool’s Day and inviting readers to spot them.

The trouble is that nowadays there are unbelievable stories in almost every issue which would qualify. Amazingly — and depressingly — they are true.

Yesterday’s Mail reported that a health watchdog has had its funding withdrawn by Wiltshire Council after its chairwoman used the phrase ‘jungle drums’ to describe gossip.

Anna Farquhar had noted that talk about NHS changes was spreading within the health service, remarking: ‘You cannot help the jungle drums.’

Sitting as a member of the general public in the local scout hut where the meeting took place was Sonia Carr. She objected strongly to the phrase ‘jungle drums’, regarding it as racist.

Mrs Farquhar immediately apologised for any offence caused, but Mrs Carr, a member of the Wiltshire Racial Equality Council, was unsatisfied, and submitted a complaint to Wiltshire Council, which launched an inquiry costing tens of thousands of pounds.

Six months later the council — which, believe it or not, is Tory — has produced a ten-page report upholding Mrs Carr’s complaint.

Mrs Farquhar and fellow members of her independent watchdog have been banned from council meetings and premises as though they were common criminals rather than people trying to improve their local health service.
The council has also withdrawn funding that covered the group’s administrative costs.

It can’t be true, can it? I’m afraid it is. It may sound like a parody or send-up or an elaborate and not very good joke, but this is a fairly normal event in modern Britain — so relatively unexceptional that most of the media have chosen to ignore it.

Thousands of pounds have been wasted, and the peace of mind of a decent woman and her group shattered, all because a silly woman and a nincompoop council took offence at the term ‘jungle drums’…

The article continues at The Daily Mail.

Related: Jungle drums and the politics of hate

Labour frontbencher Sadiq Khan should be thoroughly ashamed of his despicable, though utterly predictable, attack on David Cameron.

Far from bolstering the Far Right, the Prime Minister has commendably reclaimed the debate about state- sponsored multiculturalism. His speech was measured and not in the slightest way inflammatory.

For too long, anyone who has questioned this pernicious doctrine has been smeared as ‘racist’. Labour spent a decade and a half trashing those who expressed concerns about unlimited immigration and the refusal of some ethnic groups to integrate into British society.

And as a consequence, decent people found themselves smeared as extremists…

Update: Melanie Phillips, David Cameron’s Important Speech

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